Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "Texas Gangs"

See other formats



Aryan Brotherhood of Texas 

Aryan Circle 

Barrio Azteca 



Hermandad de Pistoleros Latinos 

Mexikanemi/Texas Mexican Mafia 

Partido Revolucionario Mexicano 

Raza Unida 

Texas Chicano Brotherhood 

Texas Mafia 

Texas Syndicate/Syndicato Tejano 


Austin Tangos (Capirucha) 

Corpus Christi Tangos (Corpitos; Charco) 

Dallas Tangos (D-Town) 

El Paso Tangos 

Fort Worth Tangos (Foritos; Foros) 

Houston Tangos (Houstone; H-Town) 

Rio Grande Valley Tangos (Valluco) 

San Antonio Tangos (San Anto; Orejones) 

West Texas Tangos 


18th Street Gang 

Black Gangster Disciples 

Latin Kings 

Mandingo Warriors 

Mara Salvatrucha 



Tri-City Bombers 

White Knights 



History The ABT was founded in the early 1980s in TDCJ when a group of white Texas 
inmates petitioned the California Aryan Brotherhood for permission to establish a 
chapter in Texas. Although the California Aryan Brotherhood refused the request, the 
Texas inmates still formed the ABT. 

Since its founding, the ABT has made several attempts to change its name or hide 
behind the umbrella of a religious organization, such as the Aryan Reich or the 
Church of Aryan Christian Heritage. Although the gang experienced severe internal 
problems and a high dropout rate shortly after these unsuccessful attempts, ABT still 
remains a formidable group in and out of the Texas prison system. 

structure The ABT is led by a steering committee comprised of five offenders, each of whom is 
responsible for a specific geographic area and maintains control of the group's activity 
in and out of the prison system. The steering committee is also responsible for making 
all rules and regulations for the organization. 

Misc. Although the ABT uses "Aryan Brotherhood" in its name, it is not associated with 

prison gangs in other state and federal correctional facilities that use the same name. 
It is considered a Texas prison gang and uses the words "of Texas" to distinguish 
itself from other similar groups. It should be noted that ABT members are 
incarcerated in various state and federal prisons. 

Tattoos The ABT insignia or tattoo depicts a shield with a Nordic dagger running through it, 
the letters "A" and "B" over the top of the shield, and the words "of Texas" located 
under the shield. All members are given the choice to put on the tattoo or not. Many 
have chosen to hide or disguise their tattoos in an effort to thwart detection by 
correctional and law enforcement agencies. 


f - ! 



h isto ry The AC was designated as an STG by TDCJ in late 1 999 after the group declared war 
on the White Knights prison clique. The group was also engaged in a second conflict 
with the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) as a result of attempts by AC to recruit the 
same white supremacist offenders as ABT. 

structure The AC currently uses a hierarchical structure with a president, vice president, and 
three "center ring" leaders. This organization is also broken down into various 
branches, districts, and divisions; however, the president, vice president, and three 
"center ring" leaders make all rules for the group. The AC is also unique among STGs 
because its constitution includes provisions for a women's branch. 

Misc. The AC is made up of white offenders who claim that their objective is the 
"preservation of the white race" and seeks to accomplish this from inside the prison 

Although the AC claims it is not a prison gang, the group's activity in the prison 
system mimics that of all other prison gangs regarding violence, intimidation, 
extortion, and control of drugs, prostitution, and gambling. 

Tattoos The AC tattoo consists of a simple circle containing double lightning bolts and/or the 
letters "AC." This tattoo is normally placed in the rib cage area just below the left 
nipple. In some cases, this tattoo will be found inside a diamond shape. The 
diamond symbolizes that the member is forever an AC member, just as "diamonds are 



History in the mid-1980s, a few offenders from the El Paso, Texas area began to heavily 
recruit offenders who were members of El Paso street gangs. As a result of their 
efforts, they managed to stop the fighting among the various El Paso street gangs 
both in prison and on the streets, and united incarcerated gang members from the El 
Paso area. Barrio Azteca (BA), as the group eventually called itself, was validated as 
a STG in 1 993 after entering a war with the Texas Syndicate (TS). 

Structure Ranks: 

Major Captain: Capitan Mayor 
Captain: Capitan 
Lieutenant: Tirilon 
Sergeant: Sargento 
Soldier: Soldado 

Misc. The intent and purpose of BA are consistent with those of all other STGs — its 
members attempt to control their environment through illegal activities, including 
drugs, prostitution, extortion, staff intimidation, inmate assaults, and murder. 

Tattoos The BA uses various tattoos to identify its members, including the name "Barrio 
Azteca," the numbers "2-1" (which represent the numeric values for the letters "B" and 
"A"), and the Roman numeral "XXI." 



History The first known Blood gang, the Compton Pirus, originated on West Piru Street in 
Compton, California. They formed to protect one another from the Crips, their 
traditional rivals. The gang developed quickly and became very strong. The 
recognition they received spread throughout the county, and other Blood gangs 
formed. These groups identified with the color red, the school color of Compton's 
Centennial High School. 

As the violence among these street gangs escalated, law enforcement in California 
began cracking down on gang activity. Many members migrated from California to 
Texas to expand their drug trade and escape prosecution for crimes committed in 
California. Since then, law enforcement agencies have identified Blood sets in 
Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and other Texas cities. 

structure The Bloods lack the organizational structure of other prison gangs. Each set may 
have a separate rank structure and pursue different goals and agendas. 

Misc. Within the Texas prison system, the Bloods are known for being one of the groups 
that is most likely to assault correctional staff. 

Tattoos Blood members can be identified by the insignias adopted by the set to which they 
belong and by their affinity for the color red. Members may also use the five-pointed 
star, which is known as the "Blood Star" and represents the Blood Nation. The letters 
at the points of the star represent the five families that comprise the Blood Nation: 
Bloods, Brims, Bishops, Vice Lords, and Pirus. 

— . 



History Despite the lack of agreement on the origins of the Crip name, the consensus is that 
the Crips gang began in West Los Angeles, California. One story purports that the 
name was derived from a street gang called the "Cribs," which was believed to be an 
offshoot of the "Slausons," at one time the largest black street gang in south central 
Los Angeles. 

Crips gang activity first started on high school campuses. The Crips preyed on non- 
gang members by extorting money and committing assaults and robberies on or near 
school campuses. The Crips quickly earned a reputation as the strongest force in the 
world of black street gangs. Other gangs then began to incorporate the "Crip" name 
into their own names, thus becoming Crip sets. The "Main Street" became the "Main 
Street Crips," with many others following suit: the Kitchen Crips, Five Deuce Crips, 
and Rollin' 20 Crips. Although these gangs adopted the Crip name, they remained 
independent and maintained their own individual leaders and membership. Members 
identified with the color blue, the school color of Washington High School in Los 

As the violence among these street gangs escalated, law enforcement in California 
began cracking down on gang activity. Crip members left California to escape 
prosecution and expand their lucrative drug operation. Since then, law enforcement 
agencies have identified Crip sets in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and other 
Texas cities. 

structure The Crips lack the organizational structure of other prison gangs. Each set may have 
a separate rank structure and pursue different goals and agendas. 

Misc. Within the Texas prison system, the Crips are known for being one of the groups that 
is most likely to assault correctional staff. 

Tattoos Crip tattoos are specific to the members' local sets, and may include references to a 
zip code or a particular street. 


History The HPL was formed by inmates of Latino origin in TDCJ in the mid-1980s. 

In the early 1990s, internal problems in the group precipitated the development of two 
factions: the 16/1 2s and the 45s. These factions adhered to the same rules and 
constitution and have since worked out their differences. They are currently united 
under one name, the HPL. Translated from the Spanish, "Hermandad de Pistoleros 
Latinos" means "Brotherhood of Latin Gunmen." 

The HPL hierarchy is structured along military lines, with three ranking leaders known 
as "Llaveros." 










The executive rules of the HPL state that "Pistoleros shall be of any Latin origin; 
Chicanos, Mexicanos, Puerto Ricans, Venezuelanos, and all persons that speak 
Latino or are descendants of Latin families." Law enforcement has also identified 
females as HPL members, which is unique among Hispanic prison gangs that 
traditionally have not allowed women to gain membership into their organizations. 

The HPL tattoo consists of the letters "HPL," sometimes with the "H" and "L" 
combined with the head of a parrot. Some tattoos incorporate the numbers "16" and 
"12," which represent the letters "P" and "L;" or the number "45," which represents the 
caliber of a .45 handgun. In addition, a tattoo of a .45-caliber handgun is commonly 
placed in an area where a gun is normally found on or carried by a person. 



History The EME is a predominantly Hispanic prison gang that originated in TDCJ's Retrieve 
Unit in the early 1980s and rapidly spread throughout the system. Initially, this STG 
attempted to masquerade as a cultural awareness group and not a criminal 
organization. It should be noted, however, that its constitution states in part: "In being 
a criminal organization we will function in any aspect of criminal interest for the benefit 
of advancement of Mexikanemi. We will traffic in drugs, contracts of assassination, 
prostitution, robbery of high magnitude and in anything we can imagine." 

structure The EME operates under a hierarchical system in which the founder of the 
organization is considered the absolute leader. Each member must also abide by an 
extensive set of rules. 






Assistant General 

Captain of Captains 


Lieutenant of Lieutenants 





The EME is extremely influential on the streets, committing crimes such as kidnapping, 
extortion, narcotics trafficking, and murder. Also known as the Mexican Mafia, La Erne, 
and the Texas Mexican Mafia, this group is not to be confused with other prison gangs 
with the same name found in other state and federal correctional institutions. 

Tattoos The EME tattoo consists of a burning sun and/or Aztec warrior shield with two crossed 
daggers, sometimes with eagle heads on the dagger handles. Within the sun or shield 
will be the Mexican national emblem: an eagle with a snake in its beak on top of a 
cactus plant. Other common tattoos include the Aztec double-headed serpent in the 
shape of the letter "M," a Mexican mountain range, and/or Aztec pyramids. 




History The PRM was founded in 1987-1988 in TDCJ's Coffield Unit by six inmates who 
wanted to protect themselves from other offenders and prison groups. Until 1994, the 
PRM was comprised of only Mexican nationals and individuals of Mexican descent. 
After 1994, recruitment was opened to individuals of Latin descent from Central and 
South America. In July 2005, TDCJ formally identified the PRM as an STG. 

structure Intelligence indicates that the rank structure is paramilitary, with its leadership 
originally consisting of five generals. 

Misc. Members of the PRM identify themselves as "Borrachos." 

Tattoos The PRM tattoo often incorporates the letters "PRM" and/or the emblem on the 
Mexican flag (i.e., eagle, snake, cactus, and half wreath). The words "Estados 
Unidos Mexicanos" may be added above the eagle. The number "6" is a code number 
used to identify membership (Note: There are six letters in the word "Mexico" and 
"Mezcal") and the tattoo "P31" is also used ("R" is the 18th letter of the alphabet and 
"M" is the 13th letter; thus "P" + 18 + 13 = P31). In addition, since the group has used 
the word "borracho" (Spanish for "drunk") to denote membership, some members may 
bear a tattoo of a Mexican male sitting on the ground, wearing a sombrero tilted 
forward, with a bottle of Mezcal or Tequila in his hand or beside him. 



History The RU was founded in the late 1980s by Hispanic offenders from Dallas, 

Houston, Corpus Christi, and the Rio Grande Valley area who had been 
victimized by the Mexikanemi (EME). Their numbers grew rapidly as they 
evolved from a protection group to a predator group. 

structure The RU currently uses a five-ranking-member panel that oversees five 

regions within the state of Texas. 

Misc. The RU is involved in all types of illegal activities, ranging from drug trafficking 

and extortion to assaults and murder. 

Tattoos The RU tattoo consists of the Mexican and American flags (in some cases, 

the Texas flag will replace the American flag) with an eagle in the center and 
a ribbon banner containing the words "Raza Unida," which signifies the unity 
of Mexican and Mexican-American. The letters "RU" may also be 
incorporated into tattoos. 



History The TXCB was formed in 1989 by several Tri-City Bomber street gang 

members who wanted to establish themselves as a prison gang. The group 
was officially recognized by TDCJ as an STG in early 1998. The TXCB 
eventually became bitter rivals with the Tri-City Bombers. 

structure The group's rank structure consists of three 5-star generals and three 4-star 


Misc. The majority of TXCB membership and activity is relegated to the Rio Grande 


Tattoos The TXCB tattoo consists of the letters "TCB" and a star found within the 

letters. This should not be mistaken for the Tri-City Bomber tattoo, which also 
consists of the letters "TCB," but with an image of a round fused bomb found 
within the letters. 



History The TM was founded in TDCJ in the early 1980s. Unlike most STGs, the TM did not 
begin as a clique or a protection group before evolving into a prison gang. Instead, 
the TM identified itself as a criminal organization from the beginning. The group has 
maintained extremely close ties to the Texas Syndicate (TS). 

structure The TM's rank structure is loosely organized, but may consist of two ranking 
members who oversee the group's activities statewide. 

Misc. The TM is predominantly comprised of white inmates. 

Tattoos The TM tattoo consists of the letters "TM" with one or all of the bottom tips of the 
letters shaped like devil's tails and/or arrowheads. 




History The TS originated in the California prison system in the early 1970s, primarily to protect 
the small number of native Texan Mexican-American inmates from existing prison 
gangs. These Texas offenders banded together for protection and soon grew in 
sufficient numbers to be formerly recognized in California as a prison gang. According 
to California officials, the TS quickly became the group "most feared by all offenders in 
the California prison system, even prior to them becoming organized, due to their fierce 
loyalty to one another and their swift and absolute retaliation without any regard for their 
own safety or consequence." Predictably, a large number of TS members who were 
released from their custodial commitments in California returned to Texas and 
continued their criminal activities. The TS surfaced in the Texas prison system in the 
late 1970s. 

structure The TS operates under a paramilitary rank structure in which the oldest, most 
experienced member serves as the organization's "Sillon" or chairman in the unit or 
area. Lieutenants and sergeants are selected by the Sillon and are assigned 
responsibilities as needed. The TS does not have one direct person in charge of the 
organization but operates in cells throughout Texas. 

Misc - Illegal activity includes, but is not limited to, drug trafficking, extortion, prostitution, 
assault, and murder. 

Members of the TS are also known to exist in several state and federal correctional 
systems across the country. The TS has two additional factions: the Texas Syndicate 
United (TSU) and Texas Syndicate Originals (TSO). 

Tattoos The TS has a specific tattoo consisting of a large "T" superimposed over an "S." The 
term "Cuerno(s)" is the Spanish word for "horn(s)" and is an identifier or indicator of 
possible TS membership. Although many members will tattoo themselves with horns 
to signify their membership in the TS, not all offenders who have the horns are 
affiliated with this STG. 




-jaf ,4 


1 mi 


fcj ^J 









Km. 97. 2ft J 










18 in Street Gang 

M isc. 

The 18 th Street Gang was formed in California in the late 1960s and consists mainly of 
illegal aliens from El Salvador as well as from Mexico and other countries in Central 
America. The gang is not exclusively Hispanic, however, and may include members of 
all races and ethnicities, and may include both male and female members. Tattoos 
worn by 18 th Street gang members will normally incorporate some variation of the 
number 18, including "18", "XVIII," or "XV3." 





Misc. The BGD originated in the Midwest and has historically aligned with Folk Nation. 
Members of the BGD may use various tattoos, including the letters "BGD," six-pointed 
stars, pitchforks raised upward, and a heart with wings. 




Misc. The LK, or Almighty Latin King Nation (ALKN), originated in Chicago, Illinois. The 
gang's influence, however, has spread throughout the country. Although various 
groups may share the "Latin King" name, not all are direct offshoots of or affiliated with 
the Chicago-based gang. The LK has historically aligned with the People Nation. 
Members of the LK may use a variety of tattoos, including the letters "LK" or "ALKN," a 
three- or five-pointed crown, the image of a "crown master," or the words "Amor de Rey" 
(Spanish for "Love of the King"). Members may also incorporate symbols common to 
other People Nation gangs, such as pitchforks pointed downward. 



M 'sc. The MW was formed in 1984 by a group of black offenders in order to protect 
themselves from members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT), the Texas Mafia 
(TM), and the Texas Syndicate (TS). The gang's hierarchy consists of a Commander in 
Chief, General, Administer of Defense, Administer of Information, and Administer of 
Law, who make up "the Committee." The Committee appoints Knights and has the 
power to remove rank. Other officers include Administer of Finance, Captain, Sergeant, 
and 1st Corporal. Members of MW refer to themselves as "Demo," which means "Sun." 
Their colors are red, black, and green. 






Misc. The MS-13 was originally formed in the late-1980s in Los Angeles, California, by El 
Salvadoran refugees who emigrated to the US to escape civil war and unrest in their 
country. Many of these refugees settled in Washington, DC, and the Rampart area of 
Los Angeles. They formed MS-13 to protect themselves from and challenge other 
already-established Hispanic gangs. Members of MS-13 use a variety of tattoos, 
including "MS," "MS-1 3," "Mara Salvatrucha," or "Salvatrucha." Members may also use 
tattoos that incorporate the names of their individual cliques or the image of a hand 
forming the devil's pitchfork. 



M 'sc. The Mexicles was formed in the Texas prison system by a group of Mexican nationals 
and immigrants who banded together to protect themselves from being recruited or 
assaulted by other STGs. Although members of this gang may be tattooed with the 
word "Mexicle" or "Mexicles," the term is not used exclusively by them. The word 
"Mexicle" is a term used to describe a Mexican citizen and thus is sometimes found in 
tattoos worn by members of other gangs, such as the Partido Revolucionario 
Mexicano (PRM). 



Misc. The term "Surenos" was first used in the 1970s as a result of a California prison war 
between the California Mexican Mafia (La EME) and Nuestra Familia (NF). This war 
resulted in a territorial division between gang members from northern California 
(Nortenos = northerners) who were aligned with NF, and those from southern 
California (Surenos = southerners) who were aligned with La EME. Surenos have a 
more significant presence in Texas than Nortenos, but both groups may be 
encountered here. Surenos identify with the color blue and the number 13, which 
represents the 13 th letter of the alphabet ("M") and signifies the group's association 
with La EME. Surenos tattoos will vary but will usually contain some kind of 
association with the word "Sureno" and possibly the number 13. Note: Although 
many street gangs in Texas may use the "Surenos" name, not all of them are affiliated 
with the California-based group. 



Misc. The TRICB, also known as Bombitas, is a street gang that is primarily composed of 
Hispanic males. They originated in the South Texas Rio Grande Valley, primarily in 
an area known as the Tri-Cities (Pharr, San Juan, and Alamo). The TRICB gang is a 
bitter rival of the STG known as the Texas Chicano Brotherhood (TXCB), which was 
founded in 1989 by former members of TRICB. A common TRICB tattoo includes the 
letters "TCB" with an image of a round fused bomb. 



Misc. The WK is a white supremacist group that was formed in the Texas prison system in 
May 1991. The gang is known to be active in the free world as well. The gang's 
hierarchy is composed of five ranking elders who are known as "the Wheel." 
Members of the Wheel coordinate the decision-making process on behalf of the 
organization. The gang's motto is "Sworn to Protect, Never to Neglect" and its official 
colors are red, white, and black. The WK tattoos include the image of a knight in 
armor and other symbols common to white supremacist groups, such as swastikas 
and double lightning bolts.